Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Change and reality

Dear fellow Avi Chai schools,
We are now several months into the process and so much has happened!
1) We have a good start on installing Senior Systems' school management technology.
2) NBOA consultants have completed a site visit and provided us with valuable ideas for our reorganization.
3) Our Steering Committee has tackled tough issues of cost and cooperation with gusto.
4) Rich Shoen, our very able consultant, has really helped us understand our schools and their different cultures from an objective perspective. His insight has kept us on track and focused on what is really important - helping the schools become better-run institutions.

It is amazing to spend so much time talking and talking and then suddenly realizing that these discussions will impact the lives and jobs of many people that we care about deeply, not to mention our children and grandchildren!
While the change process can be daunting, keeping people informed is the key to keeping them focused on doing what needs to be done today while anticipating the future.
It is very different to build than to reorganize.
We have dealt with the challenge of idealism vs. reality. Each of our schools is at very different stages of maturity in both their governance practices and their financial stability. These realities have posed challenges in terms of what each can contribute to the planned integration of our back office services.
Our committee is equally mixed between great risk takers and those more cautious about change. But we all realize that some risk is required if we are to move forward to a more certain future.
Luckily we all fundamentally trust and respect each other personally, and that has made all the difference.
Our final recommendation to the Boards will be a solid hybrid of hope and continuation of what is already strong.
We will be relying heavily on the position of Executive Director and fortunately our funders accept the fact that a true business leader will need to be compensated accordingly.
The next step is buy-in, support and final approval from both Boards of Trustees.
Then the real work begins.

We would love your thoughts on this in terms of skills and talents needed.

Thank you,

Jaynie Schultz Chair

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